Anime, Anime Reviews

Review: IDOLiSH7

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Anime: IDOLiSH7
Studio: TROYCA
Crunchyroll description: A group of aspiring idols gather at Takanashi Productions and are entrusted with the company’s future. The seven men who have just met represent a variety of totally different personalities. However, they each have their own charm and possess unknown potential as idols. Forming a group, they take their first step together as “IDOLiSH7.” Their brilliantly shining dancing forms onstage eventually begin captivating the hearts of the people. In the glorious but sometimes harsh world of idols, they aim for the top with dreams in their hearts.
Genres: Music
Original run: 07/01/2018 to 19/05/2018
Episodes: 17

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If I remember 2020 for anything other than being an all round dumpster fire of a year, it’ll be for being the year I got really into anime idol music. I had a lot of IDOLiSH7 songs on various playlists way before I watched the anime, and I loved them, so I thought it was finally time to dive into the show. For context, I haven’t played the game.

In my limited experience with idol anime, they tend to be quite formulaic; band forms, band has some issues bonding which they get over, band hits success and all is well. Throw in a rival band who are mostly assholes, and you’ve got yourself a show. Whilst IDOLiSH7 does play on a lot of these tropes, it does them really well.

The anime follows the creation of the band, IDOLiSH7, and their journey to debut and beyond. IDOLiSH7 are given a new manager, Tsumugi, who is brand new to the company (that her father owns, nepotism much?), so it’s as much a new experience for their manager as it is for the boys in the band.

Anime based on music live and die by their songs, and IDOLiSH7 has some great ones. I was already pretty familiar with some of them, having listened to mostly idol music all throughout the year, so it was really cool to see them in the context of the show. In the few idol anime I’ve seen before, during performance scenes the animation style switches to CG and it’s really jarring. It’s still very strange to me to see the sudden switch in animation but fortunately, in IDOLiSH7 I didn’t find it too bad and it seemed quite natural and well done.

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What I especially loved about IDOLish7 was the characterisation. Often with a big cast like this, you run the risk of a lot of the characters being under developed and treated very much like a supporting cast. IDOLiSH7 does a great job of giving each of the main characters their own plots and time to shine. Sure, some characters do seem more ‘main’ than others, which is probably an inevitability, but it’s done in a natural way that doesn’t make it seem like these characters are overshadowing others or stealing from their screen time.

IDOLiSH7 is an example of idol anime done correctly. From great characters to catchy songs, all paired with solid animation. It’s really fun to take a journey like this with characters who are so endearing and well meaning, and I’d recommend IDOLiSH7 to anyone who likes idol music or shows!

8 stars

Anime, Anime Reviews

Review: Tsuredure Children

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Anime: Tsuredure Children
Studio: Studio Gokumi
Crunchyroll description: To those of you out there who could never say “I love you” – this story is about ordinary highschoolers and how love makes them fired up, shaken, laugh, cry and hurt. Whether things go well or not, this story of adolescence and romance will show you how they spend their precious youth. Every character is the main character here, and you’re sure to find one you can sympathize with.
Genres: Comedy, Romance, School, Shounen
Original run: 04/07/2017 to 19/09/2017
Episodes: 12

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The theme of my summer anime seems to have been mostly me watching things and not really knowing what I was getting myself into. I had no intention of watching Tsuredure Children, but my housemate recommended to me, and as it was only about 10 minutes per episode, I didn’t have a reason to pass it up. I’m so glad I watched it.

I’ve seen a lot of people saying Tsuredure Children was the unexpected hit of last season and I wholeheartedly agree.

The basic premise of Tsuredure Children shows you snapshots of different sets of couples. Not every couple features every week, but across the series you get to follow the different stages of their relationship. There are a lot of characters crammed into this show, and going in, I was really apprehensive about how a 10-minute show was going to build on all of these relationships and develop the characters, but that’s the beauty of Tsuredure Children.

It’s surprising how quickly you can get invested in characters that really, you’re only seeing on screen for a couple of minutes each week, but Tsuredure Children presents us with some really likeable and well written characters. There’s the danger of having a lot of bland characters, or a few with similar personality types, but this anime seems to avoid this and all characters are memorable in their own right.

Each couple’s story brings something different to the show. Some are funny, some are emotional, and some are just downright bizarre, but they all fit together and make a really endearing and heartwarming package. Yes, I liked more of the individual stories than others, but there weren’t any that I really disliked. I especially liked the way some of the stories linked into each other, making them feel part of a whole rather than standalone offerings.

By the end of the series I did feel like some stories weren’t resolved as much as they could have been, and made way to Chiaki and ­­­­­Kana’s story instead, but the show started with some relationships already begun, so I guess the idea is that it ends with them and their issues ongoing.

Conclusion:

Tsuredure Children is a delightfully unassuming anime, which evokes all sorts of feelings. It’s heartwarming, funny and just a wonderful look at young love and all the ups and downs associated with it.

Anime, Anime Reviews

Review: Netsuzou TRap

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Anime: Netsuzou TRap
Studio: Creators in Pack
Crunchyroll description: Yuma, a high school second-year, is enjoying every day now that she has her first boyfriend. After she asks for relationship advice from Hotaru, her beautiful long-time friend who has many boyfriends, Hotaru teases her for her inexperience and playfully does things to her that even her boyfriend doesn’t do. Yuma and Hotaru’s secret relationship continues to escalate, and Yuma finds herself unable to deny how it makes her feel. This school drama tells the story of the interwoven lies of these two girls with boyfriends.
Genres: Drama, Shoujo Ai
Original run: 05/07/2017 to 20/09/2017
Episodes: 12

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I’m not sure what I expected Netsuzou TRap (NTR) to be going into it, but I know it wasn’t what I got. The Crunchyroll description makes it sound like some sort of cute drama about two girls who realise they have feelings about each other. That couldn’t be further from the truth. I honestly hated almost all of it, and had it not been for the fact that each episode not been 8 minutes long and I was desperate to boost my numbers for my anime challenge, I would have given it up after giving it three episodes.

As mentioned in the Crunchyroll description, the premise is that two friends are dating two friends, and they fool around with each other and eventually realise they have feelings for each other, not their boyfriends. What the description doesn’t mention is that a lot of the ‘playful’ things Hotaru does to Yuma are completely unsolicited and in fact downright rejected, giving a really rapey vibe to the whole show.

Let’s start by examining the characters. You have Yuma, the main character, who is possibly one of the most idiotic and oblivious characters I’ve ever come across in anything. She could have everything spelled out for her and she still wouldn’t understand. It takes Yuma the full 12 episodes of NTR to realise she has feelings for Hotaru. Quite why she does is anyone’s guess, because Hotaru is a real piece of work. Hotaru constantly ignores Yuma’s protesting and forces herself onto her on more than one occasion, all the meanwhile telling Yuma it’s for her own good because she doesn’t want to lose her boyfriend, Takeda, due to her inexperience. Hotaru is manipulative to the extreme, and doesn’t care at all about Yuma; never asking her feelings or even listening to what she’s saying.

As if these two delights aren’t enough, the worst is yet to come. Hotaru’s boyfriend, Fujiwara, is the scum of the earth. I know that’s the point of him, to make Yuma look like the obvious choice for Hotaru, but honestly I kind of feel like him and Hotaru deserve each other. For every negative attribute Hotaru displays, Fujiwara just amplifies it. Throughout the whole show you think there can’t be much left for him to do

The only bright spot on this whole stain of a show is Yuma’s boyfriend, Takeda. He’s genuinely a nice person, which is apparently rare in this universe. He cares for people, and just doesn’t deserve what Yuma puts him through.

I feel like the point of NTR is to get you behind Yuma, but it’s just not possible. She is so thoroughly unlikeable, that there’s just no lure to invest in her as a character. She doesn’t care about others, why should we care about her? In discussion with my housemate about NTR, he said the only resolution to the plot that he would accept is if all the characters got hit by a truck, “except Takeda… he’s alright”, and I have to say I agree.

Conclusion:

A vapid excuse for a show that wants to push towards a happy ending for characters who don’t deserve one. It has it’s funny moments, but nothing that stands out on reflection. It should be an easy show to forget, but it’s so bad it regrettably lingers in memory.